Get Out & About, History

The Insider’s Guide: Gatsby’s Grave

IMG_8637 (photo by the author)

F. Scott Fitzgerald is buried in Rockville, MD. You heard that right. Francis Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby and This Side of Paradise and one of the seminal American writers of the 20th century, is not buried in Paris, or New York, or Los Angeles, or even Princeton, but rests next to his wife, Zelda, and his daughter, Scottie, in a small, forgotten graveyard nestled between a thoroughfare and a train track in Rockville, MD.

The story of how he wound up there goes like this. Fitzgerald’s family had a long-standing history in the area. His father, Edward, grew up in Montgomery County, and F. Scott would often visit his Aunt, who lived near Rockville, as a child. He was named after Maryland’s own Francis Scott Key, composer of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and a direct relative of his somewhere along the cousin spectrum. His father was buried in the family plot at St. Mary’s Church in Rockville, and by all accounts, that’s where F. Scott always planned to be buried. Yet, his connection to the city, and the state of Maryland, was significantly more ancestral than biographical. The only place Fitzgerald actually lived in Maryland was Towson, 50 miles from Rockville, where he rented a house to be by his wife’s side as she underwent psychiatric treatment, presumably for schizophrenia, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the early 30’s. Continue reading

Entertainment, Special Events, The Features

Summer 2012 Guide to Outdoor Movies

Photo courtesy of Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie
courtesy of Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie

Summertime in the city–the daylight lasts longer, the outfits get shorter and the city has so many things to offer you outdoors. We’ve rounded up the outdoor movies in the DC area and put them into one comprehensive guide. Break out the popcorn and blankets and get ready to see what films are rolling this summer.

Washington, DC:

Screen on the Green
Where: On the National Mall, between 7th and 12th streets, NW
When: Begins at sunset
Movie Lineup:

Monday, July 16th: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Wednesday, July 25th: It Happened One Night
Monday, July 30th: From Here to Eternity
Monday, August 6th: Psycho

Follow @SOTGinDC for updates and more information.

Capitol Riverfront Movies
Where: Tingey Plaza (behind U.S. Department of Transportation), New Jersey Avenue and Tingey Streets, SE
8:45 PM/Sundown
Movie Lineup:
Thursday, June 14: National Treasure
Thursday, June 21: The Goonies
Thursday, June 28: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Thursday, July 5: City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold
Thursday, July 12: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Thursday, July 19: The Da Vinci Code
Thursday, July 26:  Muppet Treasure Island

Follow @CapitolRvrFront for more information.

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The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: Rockville

Photo courtesy of
‘RV’s New Town Square & Beall Ave 6-09’
courtesy of ‘brad.rourke’

We’re heading back to Maryland this week to check out a DC suburb that has grown to become the second-largest incorporated city in Maryland: Rockville.    Read on to find out what Rockville residents like about it, and why it’s worth a visit.

History: Rockville was one of Maryland’s oldest towns and had an important role in the Revolutionary War.  It got its name in 1801 because of its proximity to Rock Creek, and developed slowly for most of the 1800s.  In 1873 the B&O Railroad came through town, and the area grew even more.  But the real surge in growth in Rockville didn’t happen until after the 1950s, when the population increased sevenfold in thirty years.  Today Rockville is home to over 60,000 residents.  For a more detailed view of Rockville’s history, check out the city’s historic preservation website.
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Fun & Games, The Daily Feed

Team-up to “Dodge” Diabetes

courtesy of Dodging Diabetes 

On Saturday, March 20th, the 5th Annual Dodging Diabetes Charity Dodgeball Tournament will bring together 500 players and fans for a one-day competition to raise money and awareness for the fight against diabetes.

From 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Champions Fieldhouse in Rockville, teams will be ducking and diving flying balls to make a difference in our community.

To sign up as a team, click here. Team registration (before March 16) is $350.

Founded by two D.C. area locals in 2005, Dodging Diabetes has netted over $40,000 for the Joslin Diabetes Center through its annual charity dodgeball tournaments. Web site:

The “Average Joe,” too, can make a difference.

The Daily Feed, The District

Retrofitting Strip Malls on the Kojo Nnamdi Show

Photo courtesy of
‘Tivoli Square Streetscape’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

For every active, vibrant public space in DC, there’s another lifeless, auto-oriented public space right down the street.   Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown is an urban designer’s dream, while a few miles north on Wisconsin Avenue there are parking lots and gas stations lining the streets.  New York Avenue north of Chinatown is a developing hub, while New York Avenue on the eastern edge of the city is a car-oriented paradise of fast food and motels.  The reason is simple: the closer-in areas developed when walking or streetcars were the primary mode of transportation (so everything is close to the street, compact, and walkable), while the outer areas developed in the car era (with plenty of room for parking and a focus on convenience).  Now we know that, for the most part, strip malls don’t provide the public space and active streets that we urban planners love. Continue reading